Claire McCue

Claire McCue

Take time to breathe
Claire’s afternoon workshop at the Kodály Summer School 2017

On a ten day BKA course, when there will be so much to take in, take time out in this gentle movement and relaxation session. Through mindful movement, simple stretches to ease tight muscles, breathing, and the chance to simply relax and re-focus, you will also be able to take away some more ideas for relaxation through movement, mindfulness, music and meditation for the future.

Claire McCue is a composer, piano teacher and music educator based in Glasgow, also with a background and qualification in Dance teaching, the result of a much-loved hobby. After a “slight diversion” by way of a BSC(Hons) in Maths, Statistics and Management Science, she studied for a BA in Applied Music at Strathclyde University then, after a few years teaching (and discovering Kodaly!), gained a Masters in Composition (Distinction) from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. The Kodaly journey has never stopped since, nor has the composition or love of dance and use of movement in her teaching.

Claire delivers regular musicianship sessions across a range of ages for the RCS Junior Conservatoire and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra Junior Chorus and has co-led an early years training programme for nurseries and Youth Music Initiative tutors for YMI Falkirk Council over the last two years. She teaches piano for RCS early years and privately, and does some workshops for the National Youth Choir of Scotland (NYCoS).

Her compositions and collaborations have won various prizes, been broadcast on BBC radio 3 and performed internationally, and recently she enjoyed combining composition/education worlds in writing some new pentatonic songs for NYCoS. She looks forward to meeting new and familiar faces at the next BKA Summer School.

 

How Can I Keep From Singing!

How Can I Keep From Singing! – The BKA Songbook

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Middle School and Sunday School, early years and teenage boys, wheel-chair circle games and preparation for country dancing, adult community choirs and ethnically mixed classes, warm-ups in instrumental lessons and brilliant material for over a thousand young voices….. here are the thoughts of BKA members on the practical application of How Can I Keep From Singing!

Fiona Gaffney (Darlington):
Finding Kodály was the most important moment in my teaching career. After my initial Kodály training I discovered that there were few teaching resources available, until ten years ago, when the BKA Songbook was published. It has proved to be invaluable, providing inspiration and guidance to all practising Kodály teachers.

Anna Myatt (York):
I use the Songbook a lot with children’s Choirs. Last year I used Way down Yonder in the Corn Fields (p. 29) in my Big Sing in Rotherham – we had 1200 children singing it, 600 to a part! I like it because not only is it a good tune to remember and sing, but easy for part singing as one part has a held note. Also, the children love making up other verses with different animals to substitute in the last line: “Have you ever seen a pig putting on a wig?” and “Have you ever seen a sheep with Little Bo-Peep?”

This year I have found Mr Scarf’s Action Round (p. 37) to be very successful with both an adult community choir and children. We add in the actions one by one, sing in 2 parts, then leave out the actions one by one until you have only the R chest tapping on the off-beat very quietly.

Jacky Hintze (Edenbridge, Kent):
Ba-nu-wa (p.71): I have performed this charming African song with a small mixed choir, gradually building up from a single voice to a crescendo in the full 9 parts. The piece is easy to learn, as each part is repeated, yet the combination of voices produces beautiful harmonies, making it very suitable for performance. On some occasions we have dropped back in stages to a final solo; at other times, we have ended dramatically following the crescendo. As the book suggests, it also offers the chance for young lads whose voices were changing to play a full and active role by taking on the rhythmic Part 5. Always a firm favourite!

Senua de Dende (p.17): This is a good warm-up with a small local choir, to encourage accurate pitching in steps, with an octave jump thrown in for good measure. I have also used it with a mixed age group in Sunday School, adapting the words to “Jesus, the Saviour, praise Him!” We moved in a circle as we sang, with simple accompanying movements for each phrase. This meant the group picked it up effortlessly through repetition without the need for explicit teaching, although the structure of the song allowed the children to ‘feel’ the individual phrases, which could be made conscious at a later stage.

Love Somebody (p.2): This works very well with children in Early Years, especially to celebrate the Valentine season! The words and melody are simple enough to be readily assimilated during the game, which means that young children are soon joining in. The game can be adapted to suit individual abilities – eg, with a child walking or skipping round the circle – and at varying tempo. I have also used it at a special school for children with cerebral palsy, giving them the chance to move around the circle in their wheelchairs, singing at a gentle pace, allowing time to manoeuvre the chairs.

Christine Wrigley (Bedford):
I have enjoyed using so many of the songs. The book is targeted at age 8-13, precisely the range I was working with when I taught flute at my local state Middle School. I was grateful for material ideally suited to both age and stage of development of the children, therefore making my job so much easier.

Mosquito Song (p. 47): I taught this by rote to all my flute pupils. Eah pupil played it at the beginning of every lesson for two terms. They came to know and love the overarching A A B Bv structure, with its internal melodic and rhythmic repetitions, shapes and variations. By using the note A as la, the children practised the tricky flute finger pattern E,D,C in both falling and rising form – without me even mentioning the words “technical exercise”.

All 24 pupils attended a weekly flute group and we played it in various ways: in canon at 2-beats’ distance, at 1-beat’s distance, in the low register, in the high register, individually, in pairs or larger groups. The real beginners joined in slowly, in augmentation, while the ones who thought that the only way to play an instrument was fast, could test themselves by playing quickly, in diminution. This really motivated them all to hold the ensemble together, so they LISTENED and CONCENTRATED – again without me even having to mention the words! The highlight was performing it as a four-part canon at the school concert – from memory of course! The Head said afterwards that it had been his favourite item.

Ma, Ma, will you buy me a banana? (p. 24): I can see a happy picture – the class of thirty ethnically- and ability-mixed year 4 children from a socially deprived part of town. They stand in two rows facing each other, one line singing the child’s part and the other the part of the hounded Mama, who not only has to buy the banana, but also peel its skin before her offspring eventually offers her a bite. My brief was to teach the whole class to play the recorder, and the children sang this question and answer song with real understanding and gusto. This ‘Wider Opportunities’ project proved to be an impossible mission, but when I heard those children singing with such joy about bananas, I knew that I’d taught them something much more precious than how to finger a B.

Roderick Elmer – St. Monica’s Catholic Primary School, Southgate, N. London:
I find it an extremely useful song-book. There are a few songs I use all the time, but when I try a new song I invariably find that it is a “hit” with the pupils as well. We have many Irish children in my school and they enjoy singing Jug of Punch (p.93). Although it has lots of words we are gradually learning them all by memory.      

When we sing As I was walking down the street (p.45) I divide the Year 3 class into pairs around the hall and they act the song. Each pair starts from far apart, and they walk towards one another, meeting and shaking hands on the word “meet”. In the second half of the song they skip around together. We have also performed the dance as a preparation for other country dances.

Celia Cviic (Wimbledon, London):
Missa Ram Goat  (p. 23): This song never fails to please and engage singers, young and old. Its educational value – introducing, understanding, and consolidating the syncopa rhythm – is underpinned by many other useful attributes. These include the catchy rhythm, opportunities for two-part-singing, both simple and more complex, and the challenge of being able to sing and perform the syncopa at the same time – and the sheer enjoyment generated by the song itself.

The Diamond  (p. 98): This has a very strong melody and real-life subject matter, which engage children and adults alike. It can stand alone without any accompaniment or second part, and is very useful in workshop situations where encouragement to sing with vigour and good articulation is a prime concern

Len Tyler (Camberley):
I have chosen Duck Dance (p. 43) – a fantastic opportunity for movement improvisation and circle dance. I use it with age 6/7 and up. A very simple way to point up the syncopa rhythm is for children to sing the song as they walk in a big circle, and enjoy clapping the rhythm of 2nd, 4th and 6th bar.  It is great fun done in two circles and works really well in canon at one bar interval, added to which it’s a terrific song for experiencing ‘triola’ in the last line!

Margaret Oliver (Coventry):
Although I am now retired from teaching, I still find the book a useful resource. As current BKA bookstore manager, I often have to advise students and customers about the books we sell. I recently discovered Searching for Lambs (p. 95) a gorgeous flowing folk-song in the natural minor, in answer to a need for a piece in 5/4 time. The song closely follows speech rhythms, which gives the 5/4 a really natural feel. One customer asked why the song has a 3/4 bar in the middle. Again I feel this answers the narrative at that point in the verse, where the story needs to move on quicker.

Natasha Thompson (Towcester):
I come back to the BKA Songbook time and time again with my children’s and adult choirs – I have two copies as I never want to be with out one! It is packed full of tried and tested songs with lots of suggestions on how to use, teach, and perform them, and even how to add movement. Each song is a gem – it’s always worth having another look in the book, as you never know what you might discover. The indexing at the back is invaluable, instantly giving the information you require about each song.

One of my favourites is Christmas Round  (p.13). Sung very rhythmically, you can use it as a vehicle for gospel-style improvisation – add harmonies, even move it up a semitone for repeats. I also love Si, Si, Si (p. 69), such a joy to sing with a real ‘feel-good’ factor. Li’l Liza Jane  (p. 60) is a gem with my new adult choir. I give a verse to the men, a verse to the ladies, and as they get more experienced, gradually get the ostinatos going, adding them one by one.

Cyrilla Rowsell (Croydon):
Viva la musica (p.19) is always a favourite. I used it with my school choir for our performance at the Festival Hall for the Music for Youth Finals. The adjudicator didn’t hear me very quietly giving the starting pitch, and was amazed that everyone came in together on the right note! Everybody loves singing Hashivenu (p.70), a beautiful Hebrew song and a good example of the natural minor. Ha Ha Ha (p. 67) is great for teaching the major triad – I usually do it just in solfa, not the words.
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One of my own favourites is Bird of Heaven (p. 54), which I sing regularly with a small Quaker singing group I lead once a month in Cambridge. It was such a pity we couldn’t include a recording of it on the CD as it is copyright.

My sincere thanks to everyone who has contributed to this article. It gives us all much inspiration and great practical ideas. Miraculously not one person has chosen the same song as anyone else! It’s wonderful to hear that the BKA Songbook still has solutions for all occasions.

Celia Waterhouse
(Songbook Editor)

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Free Teacher Training Workshop – 29th & 30th September 2016

York, North Yorkshire

A practical workshop on the application of the Kodály principles to classroom music teaching (Early Childhood and Primary with a strand for instrumental teachers)

Tutor: Len Tyler

Location: Robert Wilkinson Primary Academy, West End, Strensall, York, YO32 5UH

Dates:
Part 1: Thursday 29th September 2016 from 16:00 to 18:30
Part 2: Friday 30th September 2016 from 09:00 to 12:30
Single session attendance by arrangement. Priority give to those attending both sessions.

Who is this workshop for?
Anyone interested in classroom music teaching (preschool and primary). There is no need to be a music reader. This workshop is also suitable for instrumental teachers who want learn the Kodaly principles. Very useful for “whole class” teaching.

What will the workshop include?

  • Use of the basic Kodaly principles
  • Lots of songs, routines, and handouts
  • Examples of easy to produce resources
  • Loads of practical ideas (all tried and tested)

Comments from previous delegates

  • Everything was marvelous and extremely useful
  • All very exciting as my first experience of music teacher training. Loved the practical exercises
  • Having done pre-school music for the last 10 years, and being a professional musician there were surprisingly quite a few things that I hadn’t thought about
  • So many great ideas. It was all useful to me
  • Len was excellent in how he explained the course. Good to listen to and very precise. I enjoyed it immensely.
  • I found Len very inspiring and helpful.

York Kodály Workshop Flyer September 2016

To register your interest or book a place
Contact:Alison Goffin
Email: enquiry@yorkmusicservice.co.uk (marked FAO Allison Goffin)
Phone: 07806 848471

This workshop has been set up specifically to support classroom teachers in preschools and primary schools in York and the surrounding area and is open to all in both the state and private sector. While there is no need to be a music reader to attend this workshop there will be plenty for the music specialist. As the Kodály principles are easy to see in early years and primary this workshop is ideal for any instrumental teacher wanting to find out how this approach works. The composer Zoltán Kodály (1882 – 1967) discovered that music education in his native Hungary was not good, and certainly not as he had personally experienced music as a child. As a result he set out to improve things by seeking out “best practice” around Europe while travelling as a professional musician/composer. It was in 1964 that the Incorporated Society of Music Educators held their annual conference in Budapest. At that event the world saw for the first time the great benefits of music the education system in Hungary. There are now Kodály organisations in many countries including USA, Canada, Australia, UK and of course Hungary.

Len Tyler

Having spent 28 years in army music, 17 of which as the music director of various bands and training establishments, Len decided to change direction, leave the military and become an educator. Having trained with the British Kodály Academy, Colourstrings International and Trinity College of Music he set up his own music school covering the age range 22nd week of pregnancy (when the hearing develops) to upper primary. He is still very active in instrumental work playing in a number of bands and orchestras as well as being the MD of an adult wind band.
Len has been delivering Kodály workshops across the UK for both instrumental and classroom work for many years. CPD days have been provided for whole school staff (including classroom assistants and lunchtime supervisors), instrumental teaching services, choral directors and general workshops on the Kodály approach. He has also run year long adult study classes for the BKA leading to formal qualification.

Len lives in Camberley (Surrey) with his woodwind teacher wife, one grown up daughter (a vet) and three dogs. His other grown up daughter is studying at Kings College (London) and is a regular and welcome visitor.

Florent Isoard

Florent IsoardFlorent studied for three years in a jazz school in the South of France. The singing lessons left him hungry for more accurate answers though – and then he discovered Allan Wright.

He liked Allan’s teaching so much that he has been working with him for almost six years, getting his certificate as an associate teacher along the way.  Florent now teaches in music schools, as well as in individual lessons and workshops, all around France.

He specialises in pop music (he is a pop singer) but teaches singers in many other musical genres.

Mark Penrose

Mark PenroseMark will be teaching Secondary methodology. For more details please visit Kodály Summer School 2016.

Mark is Director of Music at Bilton Grange Preparatory School, a leading boarding school near Rugby. He trained as a teacher with Dr James Cuskelly (IKS President) and Maree Hennessy (Director of the Kodály Centre for Music Education at Holy Names University) at the University of Queensland, graduating with a Bachelor of Education in Secondary and Primary Music in July 2006, having previously gained a Bachelor of Music and a Bachelor of Music Studies (Hons I) in Vocal Pedagogy from the Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University.

In the UK, Mark has taught from EYFS to A Level, and has been a Head of Department since early 2008, implementing a Kodály-inspired curriculum at each school with great success. Before moving out of London, he was an occasional deputy teacher for the String Training Programme at Junior Guildhall, covering Kodály classes for Cyrilla Rowsell and others. More recently, Mark delivered training on the International A Level in Music (CIE) to teachers in China and on the Isle of Man. He is an experienced examiner for iGCSE, A Level, Pre-U and Singapore Music syllabuses.

As a choral conductor, Mark has met with success in the Barnardo’s National Choral Competition, taking the Junior Chamber Choir at Surbiton High Girls’ Prep School to the National Finals at the Royal Festival Hall in March 2015, and touring to Belgium a few weeks later to première his Pentatonic Mass, which was also performed by the Miraculum Children’s Choir when they visited Surbiton for the second time in July 2015.

Cathy Fox

Cathy FoxCathy will be teaching musicianship, Secondary methodology and  Sing and Conduct: Beginner/Post-beginner. For more details please visit Kodály Summer School 2016.

Singing in choirs has always been a big part of Cathy ́s life. As a child she attended Southwell Minster School where choral singing was a daily activity. During A levels, with a group of friends, she sang for cathedral services in Norwich and Llandaff. Since moving to London, she has been a member of the Bach Choir and sung for various church services including with the choir of the Royal Naval Chapel, Greenwich.

Cathy has been a music teacher at Reedham Prep School and taught both junior and senior musicianship at the North London Colourstrings School. Cathy trained choirs at both of these institutions and has also led adult choir rehearsals at the Blackheath Conservatoire for Singing. Cathy enjoys playing the piano, especially Bach and accompanies students for ABRSM exams.

Cathy enjoys combining teaching and performing and finds that the two disciplines are complimentary to one another. As a violinist, Cathy freelances with professional orchestras, most regularly the London Philharmonic Orchestra. She has also toured with James and War of the Worlds performing in arenas including Wembley and the O2. In 2014, Cathy was solo violinist and voice for the Royal Shakespeare ́s production of Titus Andronicus. Cathy enjoys being a part of the Really Big Chorus events at the Royal Albert Hall, most recently performing Orff`s Carmina Burana with over 1000 singers from 17 different countries.

Since 2004 Cathy has taught violin and viola at the London Oratory School seeing students from beginner through to grade 8. Since 1999 she has been tutor and leader of the Sinfonietta Orcheastra on the NLMS Music Summer School. She has recently begun teaching at the Centre for Young Musicians and in 2013 she taught under-graduates at Leeds College of Music. After studying with Geza Szilvay, she has used the Colourstrings method when teaching beginners.

In 2015 Cathy graduated from the MA course at the Kodaly Institute, Kecskemet. Since returning to London, Cathy has been a deputy teacher for the musicianship classes at the Junior Guildhall School for Music and Drama and for adult musicianship classes at Blackheath Conservatoire for Singing as well as continuing her work at the London Oratory School and with the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

Why Kodály? – 25th September 2016

Scissett, West Yorkshire

A practical one-day workshop on the application of the Kodály principles to classroom music teaching (Early Childhood and Primary)

Tutor: Len Tyler

Location: Scissett First School, Wakefield Road, Scissett, Huddersfield, HD8 9HR

Who is this workshop for?
Anyone interested in classroom music teaching (preschool and primary). There is no need to be a music reader. This workshop is also suitable for instrumental teachers who want learn the Kodaly principles. Very useful for “whole class” teaching.

What will the day feature?
• Use of the basic Kodaly principles.
• Lots of songs, routines, and handouts.
• Examples of easy to produce resources.
• Loads of practical ideas (all tried and tested)

Comments from previous delegates
• Everything was marvelous and extremely useful
• All very exciting as my first experience of music teacher training. Loved the practical exercises
• Having done pre-school music for the last 10 years, and being a professional musician there were surprisingly quite a few things that I hadn’t thought about
• So many great ideas. It was all useful to me
• Len was excellent in how he explained the course. Good to listen to and very precise. I enjoyed it immensely.
• I found Len very inspiring and helpful.

Cost
£55 (including £25 per day per person discount under the “bring a friend” scheme – otherwise £80)

Why Kodaly Scissett September 2016 Application Form

For more details
Phone: 01276 504666
Email: enquiries@lentylermusicschool.co.uk
Website: www.lentylermusicschool.co.uk

BKA Supported Courses are set up independently by highly skilled and experienced BKA members under the auspices of the BKA. The course fee includes a BKA registration fee which the student can redeem as a voucher for the same amount if attending another regular BKA-run course within one calendar year (i.e. within the next twelve months). Alternatively, the amount of the fee can be redeemed against one or more year’s membership of the BKA starting from the 1 July 2016.

Rebecca Willson

Rebecca WillsonRebecca lives and works in Exeter as a freelance musician and teacher. She graduated from Dartington College of Arts in 2007 with a First Class Honours Degree in Music and, in 2015, with a Masters Degree in 21st Century Music from Brunel University. Her current work includes instrumental and musicianship teaching, performing and theatre work as well as playing in a gypsy jazz band.

www.rebeccalouisewillson.com